Madonna and Child
From the cover of Life magazine, December 25, 1944 - this was the only color cover of Life during World War II.


Lauren Ford transplants the scene of the Nativity to a barn in Connecticut much like her own. Here she portrays her neighbors gazing in wonder at the Christ Child whose mother had "wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn," In the doorway stands St. Joseph awaiting the coming of the the Three Wise Men who are following the star of Bethlehem to where the Christ Child lies.


The day of the Last Judgement when "the dead, small and great" will stand before God is portrayed by Lauren Ford as taking place in the little churchyard of Montguyon in southwestern France. The graves open up and all hwo have been buried there emerge to be judged by Christ in the name of God. On horizon (left) is an old convent building, bought by Miss Ford and a friend and later turned into a refuge for children when Germans invaded France.

Baptism of Arnauld

While Lauren Ford was living in France, she painted as a momento the story of the baptismal rites of the child of the friends with whom she was staying. In the tradition of religious paintings of the Middle Ages, guardian angels and the dove representing the Holy Spirit hover over the baptismal scene. The baptism took place in the country church of St. Pallais de Negrignac, which Miss Ford has placed on the right horizon in the painting on the opposite page.

St. Francis

To paint this picture of Christ's devout disciple, Lauren Ford journeyed from France to the hilltown of Assisi in central Italy, the birthplace of St. Francis. There, on one of the little town's narrow cobblestone streets, against the background of ancient Italian architecture, Lauren Ford painted an imaginary scene symbolizing the founding of the Third Order of St. Francis, whose lay followers dedicated themselves to the teachings of humility.

St. Germaine

St. Germaine was the child of a poor farm laborer in southern France who, after her death in 1601, was canonized. Lauren Ford shows her as a shepherdess and tells the story of the day she was accused by neighbors, whose shadows are east in foreground, of stealing food for a starving stranger. At the demand that she show what she has hidden in her apron, Germaine miraculously revealed fresh roses though it was late autumn and roses were not in bloom.

The Celestial Mother

A scene in the childhood of Blessed Catherine Laboure was painted by Lauren Ford. Left motherless, Catherine climbed up on chair and, lifting the statue of the Virgin from the mantel, asked that the Virgin be her adopted mother. Later, as a nun, Catherine predicted France would go through a terrible stress. She died in 1876, leaving a diary which told of miraculous visions, and was beatified in 1933.

The First Communion Dress

Catherine Laboure is being dressed for her First Communion in the home of her godmother, who is shown with her mouth full of pins, adjusting Catherine's long veil. Watching them in awed silence are Catherine's sister Tonine and brother Auguste. To protect the pristine whitness of the precious dress, which has been handed down from generation to generation, Catherine stands upon a spotless carpet specially spread for this momentous occasion.

Guardian Angel

The child trudging through the woods protected only by her guardian angel is Melanie de La Salette, who lived 100 years ago in southeastern France. The fifth child of poor peasants, Melanie had an unnaturally brutal mother who sent her out to beg and often tried to lose her in the woods. But Melanie, watched over by her guardian angel, miraculously survived and later, when Melanie's mother grew old, the girl cared for her tenderly until her death.

Vision of La Salette

When Melanie de La Salette was 14 the vision of the Virgin appeared to her and her little friend Maxim while they were wandering about in the fields. The Virgin stood before them wearing an apron "the color of light, her gown sewn with pearls that looked like tears." She spoke in perfect French which the children were able to repeat to their elders, though they ordinarily could speak only the dialect of the countryside.

The Vision at Dusk

One evening in 1871 the villagers of Pontmain in Brittany were praying that they be saved from Prussian invaders who were one mile from the town. Suddenly six small children playing in the snow saw in the sky the Virgin appear surrounded by a halo of light. Attracted by the children's exclamations, the older people came running. Since they were grownups, they could see nothing. But within a half hour the Prussians were turned back.

From "A Portfolio of Religious Paintings by Lauren Ford," Life magazine, Dec 25, 1944.


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